Cuomo Extends Curfew for NYC Bars & Restaurants Beginning Next Week

Starting Monday, April 19, food and drink establishments can stay open till midnight.

If you take a moment to dig deep into your memory, you may recall a time when going out for drinks after work turned into an all-night affair. Unfortunately, in New York state at least, bars and restaurants have been following strict curfews since the start of COVID-19, virtually eliminating late nights out.

As the nation begins to heal, state officials are continuing to think about ways that we can inch toward normalcy without sacrificing safety—and one of those ways is by rethinking the mandatory closing time that New York establishments have been abiding by for a while now.

This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided that starting Monday, April 19, food and drink spots can stay open until midnight, giving businesses one more hour of revenue and customers an additional hour of social time.

MORE: 20 Awesome Outdoor Dining Options for Spring in NYC

Hospitality workers in New York have questioned the curfew system since it was put into place. The exact curfew time has fluctuated throughout the pandemic—right now, it's 11 pm; prior to Valentine's Day, it was 10 pm—though some are unclear on how any sort of curfew helps stop the spread of COVID-19.

"It’s great news," one south Brooklyn bar owner told Eater. "No curfew would obviously be better, but we do have to watch out for 'Cinderella Covid' which only comes out at midnight."

While extending the curfew is a step in the right direction for those in the food and drink industry, they believe there's more work to be done. Other rules, like how food must be served with all drinks, have frustrated both bar owners and customers. Subways are still out of service from 2 to 4 am, too, which could pose a challenge for hospitality workers trying to get home once the new curfew goes into effect.

For now, though, we'll celebrate the small wins, and with more and more people getting vaccinated, we eagerly await the day that we can safely and legally do belly shots off a stranger at 3:30 in the morning.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.